BMW’s Chinese partner, Brilliance, aims to sell 150,000 German cars this year, up nearly 40% over last year, according to chairman Wu Xiaoan.

The BMW Brilliance joint venture sold 108,189 cars in 2011, up 53.5%, a growth rate much higher than China’s overall passenger car sales rise of 5.2% as demand for luxury cars continued to rise.

Wu told reporters: “I believe sales in China’s luxury car market should rise 15 to 20% this year as this segment is still small in China and more consumers are chasing for premium brands. We will grow faster than the market.”

He added that demand for BMWs in China was higher than supply due to capacity constraints but the joint venture will expand to 200,000 cars by the end of the year.

The JV’s Dadong plant will be expanded to 160,000 cars in 2013 from the current 100,000 and its second plant started production earlier this year. This will add another 200,000 units by the end of next year.

China’s luxury segment is expected to continue to outperform its overall car market which is forecast to rise 10% this year after the pace of growth slowed last year following the ending of tax incentives for small cars.